The New York Times

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The New York Times is a newspaper published in New York City and distributed internationally. It is owned by The New York Times Company, which publishes 15 other newspapers, including the International Herald Tribune and the Boston Globe. It is the largest metropolitan newspaper in the United States, and it gave its name to the famous Times Square in Manhattan. Nicknamed the "Gray Lady" for its staid appearance and style, the name is often abbreviated to the Times, but should not be confused with The Times, which is published in London, United Kingdom.

Never the largest newspaper in terms of circulation, The New York Times is nonetheless highly influential both in the United States and worldwide, the winner of close to 100 Pulitzer Prizes, with consistently high standard and incisive editorials as well as detailed and broad coverage of international as well as American news. In the last decade or so, its web site has also become one of the top-ranking Internet news destinations for readers around the world. Its world-famous motto, always printed in the upper left-hand corner of the front page, is: "All the news that's fit to print."

Contents

History

The New York Times was founded on September 18, 1851, by journalist and politician Henry Jarvis Raymond and former banker George Jones as the New-York Daily Times. On September 14, 1857, the New-York Daily Times lost its hyphen and the word Daily and became The New York Times.

The original intent was to publish the paper every morning except on Sundays. However, during the Civil War the Times (along with other major dailies) started publishing Sunday issues.

In 1896, Adolph Ochs, publisher of The Chattanooga Times, acquired The New York Times and in 1897, coined the paper's celebrated slogan, "All the news that's fit to print," widely interpreted as a jab at competing papers in New York City (the New York World and the New York Journal American) that were known for lurid yellow journalism. Under his guidance, The New York Times achieved an international scope, circulation, and reputation.

Notable events

Between 1870 and 1871, a series of Times exposes brought down Boss Tweed and ended the Tweed Ring's domination of New York's city hall.[1]

In the 1876 presidential election, while other newspapers declared Samuel Tilden the victor over Rutherford B. Hayes, the Times, under the headline "A Doubtful Election," asserted the outcome remained uncertain. After months, an electoral commission and Congress finally decided the election in Hayes' favor.[1]

In 1884, the Times faced a period of transition from strictly supporting Republican candidates to becoming a politically independent paper, supporting Grover Cleveland in his first presidential election in 1884. In the beginning, it took a toll on the income of the Times but within a few years, the paper regained most of its lost ground and readership.

Looking towards 1 Times Square

The newspaper gave its name to Times Square, in 1904, after it moved to new headquarters on 42nd Street in an area formerly known as Longacre Square. It was here that the New Year's Eve tradition of lowering a lighted ball from the Times building was started by the paper in 1907.[2] After only nine years at Times Square, the paper relocated in 1913 to 229 West 43rd Street. The new headquarters for the newspaper, the New York Times Tower, a skyscraper designed by Renzo Piano at 620 8th Avenue in Manhattan, opened in June 2007. The original Times Square building, now known as One Times Square, was sold in 1961.

In 1904, the Times received the first on-the-spot wireless transmission from a naval battle, a report of the destruction of the Russian fleet at the Battle of Port Arthur in the Yellow Sea during the Russo-Japanese War.

In 1919, it made its first trans-Atlantic delivery to London. In 1910, the first air delivery of the Times to Philadelphia began. In 1920, a "4 A.M. Airplane Edition" was sent by plane to Chicago so it could be in the hands of Republican convention delegates by evening.

During World War II, two Times reporters, Harold Denny, in North Africa, and Otto D. Tolischus, in Japan, were held as prisoners of war. Tolischus was tortured and accused of espionage. Both were eventually released.

A crossword puzzle began to appear in 1942 as a feature, and the paper bought the classical music radio station WQXR the same year. The fashion section started in 1946. The Times also started an international edition in 1946, but stopped publishing it in 1967, when it joined with the owners of the New York Herald Tribune and The Washington Post to publish the International Herald Tribune in Paris; in 2003, the Times became sole publisher.

In 1945, William L. Laurence, a science reporter, was drafted by the government to write the official history of the atomic bomb project. On August 9, he was the only journalist on the mission to bomb Nagasaki.

In 1964, the paper was the defendant in a libel case known as New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, in which the Supreme Court established the actual malice legal test for libel.

The Op-Ed section started appearing in 1970. In 1996, The New York Times went online, and is one of the top news sites on the web for readers all over the world at www.nytimes.com.

Controversies

The paper, like many news organizations, has often been accused of giving too little or too much play to various events for reasons not related to objective journalism. One of these allegations is that before and during World War II, the newspaper downplayed accusations that Nazi Germany had targeted Jews for expulsion and genocide, at least in part because the publisher, who was Jewish, feared the taint of taking on any "Jewish cause."[3]

Another serious charge was that the Times, through its coverage of the Soviet Union by correspondent Walter Duranty, helped to cover up the Ukrainian genocide perpetrated by Joseph Stalin in the 1930s.[4]

In 2003, the Times admitted that Jayson Blair, one of its reporters, had committed repeated journalistic fraud over a span of several years.[5] The general professionalism of the paper was questioned, though Blair immediately resigned following the incident. Questions of affirmative action in journalism were also raised,[6] since Blair is black. The paper's top two editors—Howell Raines, the executive editor, and Gerald M. Boyd, managing editor—resigned their posts following the incident.[7]

In April 2004, the Times reversed its policy of not using the term Armenian Genocide.[8] Despite publishing dozens of articles about the Armenian Genocide as it progressed, the Times for a period shied away from using the term in its articles as part of its editorial policy. The Turkish government still denies genocide occurred. Times columnist and former reporter Nicholas D. Kristof, who is of Armenian descent, has criticized in his Times column the ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish government.

On May 26, 2004, the Times published a piece entitled "From the Editors" indicating that the paper's reporting of the lead up to the war in Iraq, "especially on the issue of Iraq's weapons and possible Iraqi connections to international terrorists…was not as rigorous as it should have been."[9]

In October 2005, Times reporter Judith Miller was released from prison after 85 days, when she agreed to testify to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s grand jury after receiving a personal waiver, both by telephone and in writing, of her earlier confidential source agreement with Lewis "Scooter" Libby. No other reporter whose testimony had been sought in the case had received such a direct and particularized release. Her incarceration has helped fuel an effort in Congress to enact a federal shield law, comparable to the state shield laws which protect reporters in 49 of the 50 states. After her second appearance before the grand jury, Miller was released from her contempt of court finding. Miller resigned from the paper on November 9, 2005.

On December 16, 2005, a New York Times article revealed that the Bush administration had ordered the National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept certain telephone conversations between suspected terrorists in the U.S. and those in other countries without first obtaining court warrants for the surveillance, apparently in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and without the knowledge or consent of the Congress. A federal judge held that the plan revealed by the Times was unconstitutional, and hearings have been held on this issue in Congress. The article noted that reporters and editors at the Times had known about the intelligence-gathering program for approximately a year but had, at the request of White House officials, delayed publication to conduct additional reporting. The Justice Department has launched an investigation to determine the sources of the classified information obtained by the Times. The men who reported the stories, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2006.[10]

Corporate-influence concerns

In their book Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky (1988) analyzed a variety of major U.S. media outlets, with an emphasis on the Times, and concluded a bias exists which is neither liberal nor conservative in nature, but rather aligned towards the interests of corporate conglomerates, such as those that now own most of these media. Chomsky has explained that this bias functions in all sorts of ways:

…by selection of topics, by distribution of concerns, by emphasis and framing of issues, by filtering of information, by bounding of debate within certain limits. They determine, they select, they shape, they control, they restrict—in order to serve the interests of dominant, elite groups in the society.[11]

Chomsky also touches on the specific importance this perceived bias has in the Times, saying:

…history is what appears in The New York Times archives; the place where people will go to find out what happened is The New York Times. Therefore it's extremely important if history is going to be shaped in an appropriate way, that certain things appear, certain things not appear, certain questions be asked, other questions be ignored, and that issues be framed in a particular fashion.

Self-examination of bias

In summer 2004, the newspaper's then public editor (ombudsman), Daniel Okrent, wrote a piece on the Times' alleged liberal bias.[12] He concluded that the Times did have a liberal bias in coverage of certain social issues, gay marriage being the example he used. He claimed that this bias reflected the paper's cosmopolitanism, which arose naturally from its roots as a hometown paper of New York City.

Okrent did not comment at length on the issue of bias in coverage of "hard news," such as fiscal policy, foreign policy, or civil liberties. However, he noted that the paper's coverage of the war in Iraq war was, among other things, insufficiently critical of the George W. Bush administration.

The Times today

The New York Times is perhaps the most prominent American daily newspaper, although it trails USA Today and the Wall Street Journal in circulation. In March 2007, the paper reported a circulation of 1,120,420 copies on weekdays and 1,627,062 copies on Sundays. The newspaper is currently owned by The New York Times Company, in which descendants of Ochs, principally the Sulzberger family, maintain a dominant role.

Since winning its first Pulitzer Prize,[13] in 1918 for its World War I reporting, the Times has won 98 Pulitzers, including a record seven in 2002. In 1971 it broke the "Pentagon Papers" story, publishing leaked documents revealing that the U.S. government had been painting an unrealistically rosy picture of the progress of the Vietnam War. This led to New York Times Co. v. United States (1971), which declared the government's prior restraint of the classified documents was unconstitutional. In 2004, the Times won a Pulitzer for a series written by David Barstow and Lowell Bergman on employers and workplace safety issues.

The New York Times is printed at the following sites:

Ann Arbor, Michigan; Austin, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Billerica, Massachusetts; Canton, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; College Point, New York; Concord, California; Dayton, Ohio (Sunday only); Denver, Colorado; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Gastonia, North Carolina; Edison, New Jersey; Spartanburg, South Carolina; Lakeland, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Springfield, Virginia; Kent, Washington; Torrance, California and Toronto, Canada.

Though based in New York City, The Times has 16 news bureaus in the New York region, 11 national news bureaus and 26 foreign news bureaus. It has sought to strengthen its status as a national newspaper by increasing to twenty its number of printing locations, allowing early morning distribution in many additional markets.

The newspaper continues to own classical WQXR (96.3 FM) and WQEW (1560 AM).

Web presence

The Times has had a strong presence on the web since 1995, and has been ranked one of the top web sites. It is accessible via www.nytimes.com or www.nyt.com As part of its being the de facto newspaper of record, the Times makes available almost its entire site to readers without a subscription (although usually requiring site registration). Times news archives from 1987 to the present are available at no charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain.

Created via a collaboration between the newspaper and Microsoft, "Times Reader" is a desktop-based web application designed for reading the Times on your computer screen, mimicking the look-and-feel of the print newspaper. It is available only to subscribers on both the Windows PC and Mac platforms.

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 New York Times Company, New York Times Timeline 1851-1880. Retrieved March 24, 2007.
  2. New York Architecture, One Times Square (The Times Tower). Retrieved March 24, 2007.
  3. Laurel Leff, Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 0521812879).
  4. New York Times Company, New York Times Statement About 1932 Pulitzer Prize Awarded to Walter Duranty. Retrieved March 24, 2007.
  5. Dan Barry, David Barstow, Jonathan D. Glater, Adam Liptak and Jacques Steinberg, Correcting the Record: Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception. Retrieved September 10, 2008.
  6. Mickey Kaus, Affirmative retraction at the NYT. Retrieved September 24, 2006.
  7. Rose Arce and Shannon Troetel, Top New York Times editors quit, CNN. Retrieved March 24, 2007.
  8. Armeniapedia, New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2008.
  9. New York Times, Week in Review 2004: May 30. Retrieved September 4, 2006.
  10. Pulitzer Prize, 2006 Pulitzer Prize Winners—National Reporting. Retrieved September 10, 2008.
  11. www.chomsky.info, Excerpts from Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky interviewed by various interviewers. Retrieved September 10, 2008.
  12. Okrent, Daniel (July 25, 2004). "Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?" (Public Editor column). The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2006.
  13. The New York Times Company. Our Company:Awards. Retrieved July 4, 2006.

References

  • Berry, Nicholas O. Foreign Policy and the Press: An Analysis of the New York Times' Coverage of U.S. Foreign Policy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313274193.
  • Davis, Elmer. History of the New York Times, 1851-1921.
  • Hess, John. 2003. My Times: A Memoir of Dissent. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1-58322-604-4.
  • Jones, Alex S., and Susan E. Tifft. 2000. The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times. Back Bay Books. ISBN 0316836311.
  • Mnookin, Seth. 2004. Hard News: The Scandals at The New York Times and Their Meaning for American Media. New York: Random House. ISBN 1400062446.
  • Siegal, Allan M., and William G. Connolly. 1999. The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage. New York: Times Books. ISBN 0812963881.
  • Talese, Gay. 1969. The Kingdom and the Power. New York: World Publishing Company. ISBN 0844662844.

External links

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